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Alternative History. That did NOT happen to us By Eugene V . Bobukh. Project Orion. Spaceship driven by nuclear explosions. Yes this is absolutely possible. Earth to LRO fallout: 0 .1-10 Mt. Saturn manned roundtrip: 1 year in 1970s. Alpha Centauri: ~80 years in 1980s. Proposed: 1946.

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Alternative History

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Alternative History

That did NOT happen to us

By Eugene V. Bobukh


Project Orion

Spaceship driven by nuclear explosions.

Yes this is absolutely possible.

Earth to LRO fallout: 0.1-10 Mt.

Saturn manned roundtrip: 1 year in 1970s.

Alpha Centauri: ~80 years in 1980s.

Proposed: 1946.

Incepted: 1958. Serious design and testing.

Killed: 1963 by Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (!!!) and other political issues.

To those familiar with Soviet sci-fi: see “Хиус”, 1959.

After Chernobyl and Fukushima, don’t even propose that aloud anymore…


Project NERVA

  • (Thermal) Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Application

  • Test-ready by ~1969

    • 8340 m/s in vacuum

    • T/M: 0.18 to 0.98 (with a rocket stage)

  • Planned Mars flight in 1978 and Moon base in 1981

  • Ended in 1972 by budget cuts

  • USSR had a similar engine RD-0410

    • 1965 – 1985

    • 9000 m/s

    • T/M = 1.76 (engine only)

RD-0410 test


Manned Venus flyby

  • Based on lunar Apollo technology

  • Established: 1968.

  • Planned:

    • Launch 1973

    • Return 1974 (11 months expedition)

    • Crew: 3 people

  • Who needs a man on or near Venus?

    • 500 C, 95 bars, opaque atmosphere, H2SO4 rain

    • Robots obviously won


Project OTRAG Credit of http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/otrag.htm

  • Idea by Lutz Kayer:

    • Modular “cheap and dirty” rockets

    • Times mass production

    • ???

    • Profit

  • 1975 – 1982

  • Poor choice of countries

    • Congo, Libya

  • Test-flown

  • Killed by economic & political pressure

    • “…Crude Soviet-source disinformation was eagerly picked up and given credibility by the American mainstream media…”


Delta Clipper (DC-XA), 1991-96The strangest tale ever!

How many people here recognize this machine?

This thing flew. For real.

Yes, a mockup only. But totally feasible.

A single-stage, completely reusable orbital rocket.

Built by McDonnell Douglas & Strategic Defense Initiative Organization in 1991. Test flown.

Transferred to NASA in 1993. Improved. Crashed in 1996.

Closed.

WTF???


Done

  • There were many more… but better not dive into alternative history.


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